Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cognitive Hazards of Existential Risk

Amid the world-changing catastrophe and lockdown we are all experiencing now, people are wasting no time arguing about “who saw this coming and who took it seriously first.” Just today I read TUOC’s back and forth https://theunitofcaring.tumblr.com/post/614319297954709504/shlevy-theunitofcaring-slatestarscratchpad and Scott’s post about existential risk more broadly https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/04/01/book-review-the-precipice/ and those are among people I respect.

We could get lost in the weeds on the object level. My impression is that everyone “took this seriously” before some people they know/read, and after other people they know/read, and so your own impression of your success there is more about which group of people you choose to focus on. Myself, I was arguing to my boss that our office needs to act on this faster on March 3rd, which is well after some people, and well before many government officials. I don’t think it says much about me. Rationalist blogs took it seriously before Vox took it seriously before CNN took it seriously before the President, and every group’s villains take the opportunity to dunk on those later in the chain while their heroes lament.

So let’s talk about the meta level instead. Or why I think all the slamming on people for not seeing this coming is pointless and won’t benefit us in the long run anyway.

Rationalism, and many of its adjacent groups, prize very highly the trait of “taking ideas seriously.” This means talking about principles or threats not just in some “this may happen some day to other people” sense and a symbol to chatter about, but changing their own life based on the conclusions these ideas lead to. And in some ways, especially regarding your core ethical principles, I think this is very useful. 

But there seems very little discussion of the very good reason that most people don’t do this. Picture yourself as a politician, a leader of the country or at least your community. In the past few years you have been told by highly intelligent people that you respect about the following major problems that will explode any moment: global warming, AI expansion, EU breakdown and financial interdependence, terrorist attacks with nuclear or biological weapons, resource crisis, white nationalism, ebola, the breakdown of the middle class and/or nuclear family, social unrest and police brutality, and the end of late stage capitalism. All of these are very serious problems that very serious people tell you you need to act on NOW or society will end, and as far as you can tell, are equally convincing. 

You could expend all your credibility on the first one to cross your desk, and be forgotten in a week. And actually, many politicians do. We forget them. (Or they are like Marco Rubio, chasing forever after the latest big thing https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/1244683450742947842 )

Successful politicians, ones who stick around, offer a Very Serious and Wide-Ranging Plan Addressing the Roots of this Crisis and Calling for Urgent Action, which often involves expert task forces and grants to some organizations, and then forget about it because nothing will happen on their plan and they know it. (In fact you can credit Joe Biden for doing this exact thing on January 27 https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/01/27/coronavirus-donald-trump-made-us-less-prepared-joe-biden-column/4581710002/ ). This is the opposite of “taking ideas seriously.” This is showing attention to a problem for the sake of others’ judgment, without having to change your life or direct action much at all.

Economists have a pithy version of this attitude, as applied to people who try to short a company that they just KNOW is over-valued: “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” (And indeed, many investors who saw the 2008 financial crisis coming and tried to bet against it… bet in 2006 and 2007 and lost all their money first.)

You can’t just take every world-changing threat seriously at face-value and adjust your portfolio likewise. You will lose all your money, all your credibility, and have a broken shell of a life.

And most people, on a “meta-rational level”, actually know this? That you have to have some dissonance between your stated beliefs and how you guide your day to day existence, and that letting every change in the former affect your latter will throw you wildly off course. So they nod soberly at the new articles, maybe post online about it and use it as a reason to contribute $100 to their already favorite politician, maybe spend an equivalent amount on some consumer good that makes them feel prepared (gold against a financial crisis, prepping supplies, etc) and move on with their lives. And in most cases *this is very good for them.*

The problem being of course, that most cases are not all cases, and the one risk that proves out destroys all your hard work too.

The sort of competition-as-a-virtue ideology that the leading edge of our culture has now (from Wall St. to Silicon Valley) actually makes this worse. Even if you have an entirely accurate picture of future risk, if you have a competitor that just *ignores* or undervalues future risk, and doesn’t budget and plan for it, they can just beat you by price (or whatever.) Only entities that don’t have to worry about the short term can really prepare for future existential risk, and until now, our cultural ethos was very much against those sorts of entities, deriding them as traditional, monopolistic, and unaccountable (which they often were.)

The answer isn’t to just “ignore all future risks.” But it’s also really not to take a prideful stance of insisting *all* long-tail risks need to be treated with immediate seriousness. If you do this, you will find yourself very disappointed: as all your followers either ignore you, or lose all their money and sanity on the many other claims on their attention.

Unfortunately we actually need to analyze upcoming risks honestly. Most will never affect us. Some actually will. This is, well, incredibly hard. In particular a sense of proportion is very valuable here. (Rationalists like the linked SSC post will go on about the vital difference between .00001 and .01 chance, but frankly I think most people don’t react differently to .5 and .1 chance currently.) 

So let’s be honest about how people are actually coming to take this crisis seriously: it’s not because an expert presented them with a scary chart. People, especially top decision makers, are used to seeing scary charts. It is when the Real of the experience actually starts to hit them in the face. Almost every state put off any action until sick people were already in their state and multiplying by (if small) quickly increasing numbers.

You can’t even decide “well I will trust the experts in the field or this one particular expert I respect”, since well, the most common failure mode of experts is to vastly overstate the importance of their field.

There is an interesting side-tangent here of the difference between people who are “very online” and those not. For the past year the political internet had pondered this distinction, as twitter/etc discourse failed to resemble American voting outcomes so starkly, even among the Democratic primary voters. The implication was that by being “too online” we were stewing in so much self-referential memetic influences that we had lost touch with what “real people” thought, and so being very online was bad for your mental hygiene. In the past couple months, the lines of these categories persisted, but now it was the “very online” who were dramatically right about something relative to people just listening to talk radio and reading local papers.

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(*Yes, this post uses the term “existential risk” for things that will just kill dozens of millions of people and raise unemployment to 20%, and not the technical meaning which would require the obliteration of all human life. Existential risk more commonly refers to “that would coerce drastic changes on you”, such as a neighboring army that can topple your government, without needing the whole complete extermination of humanity thing.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Let Them Dance





More people should watch the 1980’s spy/ballet thriller “White Nights” (despite the unfortunate name.) I don’t know why it’s not up in the ranks of perennial slumber party fare like “Dirty Dancing” and “Labyrinth” are.

It stars Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, and the first performance of Isabella Rossellini. 

Possibly because the plot is bad and any scene that does not involve dancing is bad. But fortunately most scenes involve dancing. Here’s the thing: I don’t even like watching dancing. Neither ballet nor tap (which are the specialties of the two leads.) But it’s clear that the director (Taylor Hackford) cares about it, and so that is the element that gets his attention.

The video above is just the opening credits of the movie. And Mikhail fortunately is a good actor whenever the matter is tangential to dancing. (Gregory and Isabella are of course always good actors.)

The plot itself works better was a “two people one room” scenario (ie what “Two Popes” wanted to be.) A star ballerino from Leningrad defected to the US for the twin reasons of sentimental conservatism (“I’m Russian, not Soviet”) and being able to earn more money. He crashes and is stuck back in Russia. The KGB sets as his minder a black tap dancer who defected from the US after the Vietnam War. They argue about their birth country’s respective history of oppression and how they treat different types of artists and class. They do this via dance sequences. It is moving and excellent.

It's not that the ballet (and tap and other) is just pretty fan service. It's that it is an effective way to tell the story, and worth appreciating in that right.

Notable scenes are: Hines tap dancing an explanation of structural racism in Harlem, Mikhail dancing the tragedy of suppressed artists and work under a politically restrictive regime, and the two of them doing a duet together that is very well coordinated and not in the preferred dance style of either of them.

Any rigmarole involving the straight from central casting KGB Colonel is cliche and predictable (except for the one scene where for no reason he dances by himself.) The scenes with American spymasters who want to get Mikhail out but are afraid to act are similarly pointless. But like, so what? Fast forward until you get to more dancing.

I particularly applauded how the director took the typical action-scenes of the spy escaping from his prison and doing death-defying hijinx and… made them look like ballet as well, leaping from I-beam to I-beam or performing aerial silk tricks on the rope.

The movie takes a very meta twist in the second half. To cover up what they are really talking about, to set their KGB minders at ease, and to extract some concessions, Mikhail and Gregory start arguing a lot about Isabella (who is playing Gregory’s wife and interpreter.) Mikhail is pretending to be racist and says it is disgusting for Isabella to be with a black man, and wants her for himself. They record a number of conversations to play for the eavesdroppers, all with the active participation of all three of them.

Except they get really, really into this performance. They record far more argumentative dialogue than is necessary. Mikhail and the Colonel exchange crude slurs (content warning: n-word.) It just goes on and on. And well, they are performers, and there is a lot to say about performers and the mask becoming real.

So my favorite moment, is while the tape of them having this derogatory argument in the background is playing, Mikhail and Isabella have crossed a rope to the fire escape, and Gregory is supposed to join them, but he instead just *throws away the rope* and goes downstairs to the KGB office to cover their escape. 

They do, in the end, choose to all go to America, instead of rejecting *both* oppressive regimes. Which is unfortunate but unsurprising.

Check it out from amazon, and fast forward through the non-dancing parts.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Death of Art, Rise of Skywalker

Image result for rise of skywalker




I admit I have been thrown into nihilistic depression by the last Star Wars and other similar movies this past year. They have not been bad - they have made me wonder whether art is even possible.

Or rather, just when limited to these mega-blockbusters that are the tentpoles of the entire culture. Are they even making anything worth analyzing? Is it worth trying to pick apart the pieces of Skywalker?

This is related to “Justice League.” I liked Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman and had a lot to say about them, but as the series went on, there was less to say about each movie. Justice League had a couple good moments, but was otherwise pablum.

If you have the time, watch this video about “the Snyder cut” that goes deep into the process of making these half a billion dollar budget movies.



And I just have this dark vision of modern cinema. A very high paid actor, standing alone with ping pong balls and velcro taped to the, saying a few lines against a green screen, giving as much fungible footage as possible to give the CGI artists. A dozen hours of this is cut into something resembling a plot, it’s shown to focus groups, and they give feedback on what they can’t follow or understand or who isn’t likable enough. Then months after shooting, the scenes are re-cut, dialogue is added (especially behind a mask or off screen), to make entirely different plots, and remove or add entire narrative lines. The result has no coherence besides being the least offensive thing to the particular focus group. Then half a billion is spent on marketing, the majority of its ticket sales come from viewers the opening weekend before anyone has seen it, and with weak “legs” the movie disappears into irrelevance within weeks.

What is there to even analyze here! There is no auteur’s vision. There is no deep resonance with society that makes audiences remember it, because it didn’t resonate with society. I’d analyze the output of a million monkeys on typewriters if people loved it, just so see what they loved, but no one loves it. Let alone how genre franchises have made it so you are stuck with certain characters or settings, but studios are too cowardly to stick with or plan a throughline for multiple films. You have the weaknesses of using the same ingredients, with none of the benefits of a strong, ongoing foundations.

It’s all depressing and stupid.

I even “liked” a few bits of this movie. The scene on the shattered remains of the Death Star combined the two best actors, an environment that represented Rey’s inner turmoil (which is what Star Wars planets are best at), and some good writing. I didn’t mind the reveal that retconned TLJ. The horror around Palpatine’s presentation was well done. The ForceSkype scenes and fights were good. I went in with low expectations and so did not emerge disappointed.

But I can’t for the life of me think of anything to say about the movie. It’s a melange of stuff intended by no one that sometimes amuses but mostly upsets people.

Here’s what SMG has been able to pull together in a longer form review than usual, but it only arrives at the same point:

First Question: Which ST?

As we all know now, Lucas’ films have a very clear and simple - but very nuanced - story structure. We have two trilogies, OT and PT. The plot is laid out in numerical order, but the actual story is achronological.

4 - 5 - 6 - 1 - 2 - 3

Although there is no literal time-travel in Star Wars, the story is about a time loop. The eternal return of the same. Prophecy. Things are doomed to happen again, and again.

The only good Disney film, Rogue One, is the void at the center of the ring. Despite fitting into the plot between 3 and 4, Rogue One is extimate to Lucas’ narrative. Picture a circle with an ‘R’ in the middle. Everything circulates around it, but it never connects. For Lucas’ satire to function, the leftism of Rogue’s worldview must be pointedly excluded - even if it’s at the core of what Lucas was expressing.

4 - 5 - 6
|....R....|
3 - 2 - 1

So, that’s the groundwork out of the way. Now, how is the ST structured? This is where things get extremely complex.

Barudak posted:

I really loathe these films as a standalone trilogy because a ton of it is confusing as hell without the previous films

To understand the ST, you need to confront this confusion. Unlearn what you have learned. There are so many bad takes because people cannot separate one film from another, and from some “meta” cultural experience:

“Luke saw the prequels!” No, he didn’t.

“Kylo’s a Star Wars cosplayer!” No, he isn’t.

The Disney films do obviously follow Lucas’ plot (to some extent), and they do correctly identify Episode 3 as the end of the Lucas narrative. But, ultimately, they scrap what Lucas established. They’re a new thing. It’s what we call a ‘soft reboot’, subtly easing you into an altogether different narrative.

Here’s proof: in the ST’s backstory, there is only one Death Star. There was only ever one Death Star. There is never any mention of a second Death Star. When Rey walks up to the Death Star wreckage near Endor, she says “it’s the Death Star!” - not “it’s Death Star 2, the Emperor’s personal Death Star, built to replace the first Death Star after it was destroyed near Yavin”.

The “ST” films are set in the aftermath of a big war, but it is not the same war we see in the Lucas films. It’s a remixed version. For lack of a better term, it’s the Stupid Version. There were some mean ol’ baddies who were angry for no reason, and killed one trillion people with a Death Star, but Luke The Jedi inspired Leia’s Rebels to eradicate them all in a blinding rainbow Light of Hope. The Emperor of the baddies was killed by Luke, his Death Star was blown up, and as long as people retained their faith in the Light of liberalism, the baddies couldn’t return....

There is no mention of slavery and racism in the Republic in this stupid version. The Kessel Run isn’t an obvious lie. The fact that the Rebels failed, and Darth Vader (with the Ewoks) ultimately defeated the Emperor, is erased. Instead of being complicit in the rise of the Empire, the Jedi were merely too weak to stop it. Instead of just being a dude with legitimate grievances, Darth Maul is now an evil alien from planet Exogal, who literally all wear black robes. Etc.

So, while TFA seems to follow from Lucas’ films - jumping off from Episode 3 while retaining the same numerical system - it’s a trap. Once you’re in, the door closes behind you. Lucas’ films are replaced with Solo: A Star Wars story, Rogue One, and the yet-unreleased Obiwan film (now a miniseries).

Why? Because Solo is an origin story for Han, Rogue One is a (stealth) origin for Leia, and Obiwan will inevitably end on a young Luke. Each of these characters gets a film where they die, and so each gets an origin story. (Additionally, each midquel re-introduces a key faction: smugglers, Rebels, Jedis). This is why Disney developed a ‘midquel trilogy’ in the first place. The goal is to generate a new six-film continuity to replace Lucas’, without technically remaking anything. Who’s this old guy in Episode 9? Watch Solo to find out. Who is Darth Vader? Watch Rogue One to find out. What the fuck is a Jedi anyways? Watch the new Obiwan series. (This planned structure is likely why Solo was desperately reshot to be unfunny).

4 - 5 - 6 - 1 - 2 - 3 - [S - O - R] - 7 - 8 - 9

Of course, the Disneyverse is in constant flux due to market forces. Although we can think of the Disney films as two trilogies, Solo was also likely meant to start an Expanded Universe of Solo films, which were aborted. Obiwan is now a TV show alongside Mandalorian and a new Rogue One prequel. Meanwhile, even Episode 8 was rendered narratively irrelevant and quietly shuffled away like the Lucas films, to be fodder for references.

Basically, that’s a long way of saying that the Disney films are designed in such a way that you can selectively acknowledge or ignore whatever you want. And that means things can change dramatically, depending on each viewer. Currently, the closest thing we have to an “ST” is Solo, 7, and 9 - a ‘Millenium Falcon’ trilogy, focussed on the ownership of the Falcon (and, to a lesser extent, the Solo family). Anyone reading the films this way, though, will reach vastly different conclusions from anyone following that the ‘official’ (but less coherent) numbered trilogy of 7, 8, and 9.

Second Question: Exogol????

We need to talk about Exogal.

I’m honestly surprised that fans aren’t absolutely furious about this. Undead Palpatine gets all the attention, because everyone loves the prequels, but the actual massive twist in ROS is that literally every conflict in Star Wars was the work of the Exogolians from planet Exogol.

Who’s that weird guy at the end of Solo? In the context of the ST, he’s an Exogolian, wearing the telltale robes of his culture. Exogalians are behind organized crime. Who’s that guy at the end of Rogue One? That’s the Exogolian known as Darth Vader. (According to Wookieepedia, the Exogolian relic from the start of ROS was Vader’s personal “wayfinder”). Who is the “Darth Sidious” Luke’s talking about? Another Exogolian - he destroyed the Jedi. Palpatine is obviously an Exogolian. Rey’s parents were, of course, killed by an Exogolian.

Exogolians are the ‘midichlorian’ twist times a billion, in terms of their devastating impact on the Star Wars narrative(s). But where the midichlorian twist was specifically laser-targeted at New Age horseshit interpretations of The Force, the Exogolian twist is just aimlessly moronic.

But it’s in the film. You can’t avoid it. Sorry.

Exogal is a seemingly-barren planet, home a relatively small (but nonetheless sizeable) population of Sith. Sith is the national religion of the Exogolians, who are otherwise notably multiracial. (The ‘rule of two’ is evidently out, or non-applicable here.) So, when Palpatine says that he is “all the Sith”, he clearly means that he wields the collective psychic power of all the Exogolians in the arena.

But, who’s not an Exogolian? Kylo Ren!!(And probably Dooku). Kylo is now officially confirmed to be not a sith, for what it’s worth. For a more philosophical-type question: did Snoke know he was being controlled?

Anyway, the Exogalians’ sole major industry is Starship production. Note that the stormy, hidden planet and stony arena imagery are a mix of Kamino, Geonosis, and the mining planet from Solo. Implicitly, the Exogolians are the arms dealers ‘selling to both sides’, from TLJ.

Call it a plot hole, but the Exogolians don’t employ droid or clone slaves for some reason. But then, they ask for no money either. They want nothing but manpower. The economics of it are baffling. Who’s building all this?

Anyways, Exogol is a thing now.


Hobo Clown posted:

Who is Snoke supposed to have been a clone of? Is it a poorly grown and rushed version Palpatine? Random Sith mook #6731? Grown from the Force like Anakin but without a human mother?

So this leads us to the next thing:

Third Question: What The Fuck Is Even Going On?

One thing I like to point out is that there never was an "OT", until after Return Of The Jedi. The first three Star Wars films became a trilogy retroactively, because it was never really certain how many films it would take to complete the story. There were plans for multiple Empire Strikes Back sequels, which were then condensed down into Episode 6 (with mixed results). The prequels were the first time that Star Wars films were ever actually planned out as a trilogy, with a definitive ending in mind. So, in a sense, we would not have an "OT" without the prequels' structural role. They cemented things: Lucas' Star Wars is now, definitively, two trilogies that complement eachother.

Now, Disney's approach with the sequels is a sort of worst-of-both-worlds approach. We have the slipshod, improvisational nature of the OT combined with the absolute certainty that this WILL be a trilogy. 'We cannot fail, we won't lose money. We can just churn out anything, with the promise that it'll eventually work.' It's not just Disney that bought into this silliness; Snoke appeared onscreen and fans said "it's going to be great when they finally make a movie about who Snoke is" - oblivious to the fact that TFA is the movie about who Snoke is.

"It's going to be great when they finally make a movie about what happened to the New Republic". TFA is that movie. The New Republic sucked and got blown up.

"It's going to be great when they finally make a movie about what Rey's parents did." TFA is that movie. Rey's parents dumped her on Tatooine because they were dumbasses.

"It's going to be great when they finally make a movie about what happened to Luke". TFA is that movie too. Luke's temple sucked and got blown up. Luke slinked away as a loser.

And Episode 8 simply repeats the above. There's nothing actually subversive in it, which is why it's so redundant. Yet, fans still believed in the power of the franchise over individual films. It'll all eventually work. Episode 9 will fix everything... right?

Nope. Episode 9 also repeats the above. The parents are still dumbasses, and Luke is still a loser. (Were fans really expecting a really good and sensible reason to sell a six-year-old girl into slavery to a feudal lord?) So, getting back to the point: giving Snoke an origin could never 'fix' anything. It had the potential to affect how we interpret the story of TFA, but it could never actually change the story of TFA. Like, so what if Snoke's grown in a vat? That doesn't actually mean anything. Instead of being a quasi-Stalinist 'Evil Pope' figure, Snoke is now a quasi-Stalinist 'Evil Pope' figure who came from a vat. Wow.

Who is Snoke a clone of? Nobody. We're shown in the film that he was built from scratch, and emerged from the vat fully grown. But, even if he were a clone of someone specific, this still wouldn't change the character. He would still be Snoke, the quasi-Stalinist 'Evil Pope' figure who came from a vat. So the ST was always about one thing: a not-very-timely critique of the Soviet Union. Horseshoe theory with Hux. A literal Red Dawn in TFA.

Episode 9 changes absolutely nothing about the previous films. It just moves away from them, by finally introducing something interesting: Rey's realization that she is a bad guy. The true big reveal is that she always knew this, but could never admit it to anyone. She's reluctant to participate in battles because she knows inside that the Republic is fascist. She knows that Resistance are Contras, and the fact that she loves killing scares her.

All the stuff about her parents and lineage is nonsensical dross, but easily tuned out. Palpatine is not Rey's grandfather except in a metaphorical sense. He's the guy who killed Rey's parents and thereby created her. (It's a reference to Conan The Barbarian.) The dagger that killed them is the source of Rey's power, and her passport to Hell.


2house2fly posted:

I think the specific reasons behind it was what bugged people, I've read a lot of "they made Luke into a child murderer!" People probably assumed Luke was blameless and was hiding out on the island planet because he was scared of the villains or something

Fourth Question: Seriously, What The Fuck Is Going On?

It’s vital to never forget that the Lucas films ‘end’ with Vader dying our sins - in what is, narratively, the middle of the story.

Lucas’ point with that twist is that, while the Jedi keep talking about the eventual appearance of a ‘Chosen One’ who will balance the universe, “the Messiah has already arrived; the Event has already taken place, [and] we are living in its aftermath.” (Zizek, my italics)

In other words, killing the emperor doesn’t solve anything in-and-of itself. So long as there is still inequality, the job isn’t done. Vader’s crucifixion - literally the death of God, aka The Force - means simply that there never was an excuse for suffering. We are freed from ‘the energy field that controls our destiny’ - but authentic freedom is a burdensome responsibility.

So, David Fincher was correct to say “Star Wars [is] the story of two slaves who go from owner to owner, witnessing their masters’ folly - the ultimate folly of man.” Lucas’ films can only truly be read two ways: either you believe in Christ and demand an end to droid slavery, or - however well-intentioned you may be - you are on the side of Rome and suffering.

Fincher was approached to do Episode 7, but declined. Three guesses what ideas Disney went with instead.

“Well, if droids could think, there'd be none of us here, would there?"

This line, clearly demonstrating Obiwan’s intense racism, is Disney’s quasi-official political stance. We see it in Black Panther, for example: if black slaves could think, “the sun will never set on the Wakandan Empire.” Black leftists ‘go too far’ and seek to enslave the white race in retaliation. Episode 9, likewise, makes Kylo Ren suddenly an avowed imperialist and - simultaneously - reveals that Snoke was, all along, an organic droid.

Moreso than even the Clone Troopers, who were at least raised from infancy, Snoke is an organic machine. But Snoke is evidently ‘a droid who can ‘think’ and therefore endeavours to eliminate humanity. (Pop Quiz: can you name the other Star Wars character to wears only gold, and sits on a throne as god-king?)

Disney’s policy of ‘anti-imperialism’ sounds appealing, because who can say they like imperialism? But it’s ultimately a trick: anti-imperialism in defence of capitalism is a dogwhistle for anticommunism. A few decades ago, they called it ‘domino theory.’

Anyways, if you’ve seen only the Disney films, Darth Vader is presented exclusively as “a very powerful evil guy”. All reference to Vader as a Christ figure has been scrubbed. But, still: why was Ben so angry? What made him open to Vader’s teachings (via Snoke) in the first place?

It’s not actually a mystery, of course. Ben’s dad trafficked endangered species for the venal rich, and his mom headed some kind of extralegal feudalist death squad. Ben begins thinking commie thoughts, and that is why Luke plots to murder him.

This is not to say Snoke is a good person, of course. He’s still just a quasi-Stalinist ‘Evil Pope’. But the filmmakers still, curiously, decided to make Snoke an enslaved clone-droid - a hybrid of the two most overtly oppressed peoples in the Star Wars. And his sendoff is a big closeup of his tongue drooping grotesquely out of his dead face, like “fuck you, Snoke!” And then Pippin dismisses cloning as unnatural.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

December Movie/TV Roundup

Image result for messiah netflixImage result for parasiteImage result for knives outImage result for witcherImage result for marriage story

Brief reviews of: Parasite, Knives Out, Witcher, and Messiah. Rise of Skywalker will come later. Spoilers follow but if you care you can probably just skip the parts for shows you have seen.